After all the crazy excitement of the last 15 minutes of the previous episode, we spend most of the time focused on Andrea’s dumb stuff. Way to legitimize my bashing, show.
Everyone is still arguing about how they should move forward after the Governor let a van full of zombies loose in the prison’s front yard. Rick’s decision is to stay and hold the fort, to which Merle thinks is living pathetically. Look at Merle, behind bars, being all convict-like. Being on his best behaviour after saving Rick’s ass. This new leaf seems to have taken hold pretty quickly. I’m surprised he’s even trying at all.
The gang is none too happy with Merle dropping truthbombs about their situation. They’ve missed their chance to move elsewhere. Now the zombies are just going to hone in on them. He warns them not to underestimate the cunning of the Governor; he can be a real jerk, you know? Not only that, he could perch a bunch of snipers on the towers one day, throw in an ample ammo stockpile and wait them out til everyone’s a pile of dusty bones.
Maggie suggests that they throw him into another cell block but little Dixon objects. Clearly, she’s still pissed about what Merle did to Glenn. Beth jumps in to cut the arguing short, Hershel wants the group to leave especially after Axel’s bit it, but it’s all really up to Rick, innit? It’s always up to Rick in the end, and he’s still dealing with his stuff. His things. Things and stuff, guys!
Rick starts to walk away but is treated to some Bearded Fury. Hershel reminds Rick the role he carved out for himself post-barn, since he yelled at anyone within a five mile radius. He put his family’s safety in his hands. Rick better know his role.
Sometimes I wonder why Hershel doesn’t just anoint someone else as group leader. I totally understand why he doesn’t want to do it himself, he’s better as the kingmaking herb-using medicine man, but telling Rick to get it together is more than useless by now?
I guess Rick doesn’t really give two rats’ bottoms as he takes his turn to watch the prison perimeter from a brand new vantage point. Look at all those hungry zombies at my fence, he thinks. He raises his binoculars to survey the treeline of the forest just beyond his prison fences and spies something white moving around. A second look proves he might be dreaming again. Could have been Martinez wearing his mum’s nightgown just to throw Rick off since he couldn’t hit him with a bullet.
Carl appears to tell his dad that he’s a great marksman. And that he should really GTFO of the leader seat. Just quit it, pa. Let Hershel and Daryl do it, you don’t need no burdens anymore. Just chillax.
Rick is stunned, but you can tell that he’s seriously contemplating it. Either that or he’s thinking what the what now?
After some credits, the Governor checks the town numbers with Milton. Lots of sick, deaf, hurt people after the assault. Then he asks about the headcount, when teenagers are included. Well, after Michonne stuck a knife to his kid there are no such thing as kids in the whole wide world. Just little men and women who haven’t learnt how to fire a gun yet.
“Adolescents are a twentieth century invention,” he declares. So with teenager persons added, the able-bodied population goes from 26 to 35. He tells the Doc that they’re gonna have to start training when Martinez is ready. Ready? So you mean I’m sort of right about the spying thing earlier?
There’s no better time to barge in than now, so Andrea enters the scene asking all sorts of things about the Governor’s little visit to the prison. She gets pissed at him for moving in on them, but being the one-eyed lying douche he is, points out that they were the one that opened fire first, calling them bloodthirsty. Oh please, you big ol’ Pot.
When confronted by Andrea, Milton lies poorly that he only knew about it in the morning. I love how the Gov knows this and just tells her to leave the Doc out of it. I kind of laughed when Milton just up and left just like that to get the hell out ASAP.
Andrea really really wants to see her old crew again but the Gov is stubborn about it. He even adds that if she wants to go to the prison, she should just check in and never return to Woodbury. Tough.
She walks down the street and sees the townspeople starting their repairs. She’s still strolling until this kid’s mum calls her in to solve a minor dispute on her son’s asthma and his unlikely recruitment into the Woodbury Watchmen. Working those political pants, I see.
As usual, led by her own moral compass, she questions Martinez about his recruitment strategy and demographic. “Wake up,” he responds, “The only way to defend ourselves is with an army.” Okay, when he’s all up close like that he’s actually kind of hot. Err, okay, just personal preference. I would be bummed if Andrea shacked up with him too.
Back at the prison, the group discusses the best way to exterminate their recent walker infestation, thanks to that asshole neighbour Phil. Glenn starts up again about his displeasure with having Merle around and Daryl isn’t pleased. He tells everyone to get used to it. And I’m sure that he knows Merle is trying to behave. He could’ve skipped out on saving Rick but he didn’t. So that earns him some leeway, which understandably, everyone’s having a bit of trouble giving him.
Glenn continues his anti-Merle campaign and brings up Shane. “I didn’t ask you to live with Shane after he tried to kill you.” Well, no, you dumbass. Obviously you couldn’t ask Rick to live with Shane because Rick killed him before you even knew Shane was dead. Geez.
Rational Hershel steps in once again to voice the practical use of Merle. Now that they have Daryl back, he knows that there’s no other relationship more meaningful to the Dixon brothers than their own.
Still, the way Glenn desperately spits out alternative ways to kick Merle out – exchange with the Governor, offer truce – proves that he’s just being a wiener about it and is butthurt. I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve to hate Merle for what he did to him, but man, does Glenn really suck at controlling his emotions. It’s gonna get all of them killed one day.
Merle is taping a knife to his metal stump again with duct tape; shiv arms are a great idea. Hershel is the only dude brave and reasonable enough to sit in the same cell as Merle for a little chat. I love that he manages to remain relatively unbiased, or at least, look like he’s relatively unbiased, just so he can have a proper conversation with Merle. They exchange stories and bond over missing limbs. It’s kind of sweet, actually, when Hershel is the only one making the effort to make Merle feel like there’s still a chance for him to earn his keep around here.
With skilled timing, Hershel pulls out a bible from his pocket that he found in one of the cells. Forgot that religion even existed in this universe, after all that’s happened, but it does make sense that Hershel would still be a God-fearing man.
In an unexpected twist, we discover that Merle is quite the bookworm, especially when it comes to the bible. He successfully finishes Hershel’s recital of Matthew 5:29-30. “Woodbury had a damn fine library,” he alludes, glossing over the fact that he may actually be quite the religious being under all that bravado and wit.
Merle shares with Hershel the order in which the Governor will destroy the group – starting with himself. Rick will be last, so that he can “watch all his family and friends die ugly”. Totally the Gov’s pattern. Hershel regards this carefully.
The Governor is reviewing the people who are going to be part of his army, dismissing an older lady afflicted with arthritis. I half expected him to break her neck in front of everyone, but I guess we’re not at that point yet.
Andrea points out that Noah has asthma, but the Governor wants him in the team anyway. The look he gives her is one of “nanny nanny poo poo.”
Another quick scene jump. Carol hangs out at Daryl’s cell and expresses appreciation for him. He nonchalantly brushes the glory of his homecoming aside, but come on. We all know you’re crying on the inside like you got elected to be prom queen. Carol describes the prison as their home, but Daryl says it’s a tomb. Just like T-Dog did. And she thought it was her grave too, until Daryl found her.
He gives a tiny smile, accepting her gratitude. What a lovely moment.
She tells him that despite being his brother, Merle isn’t good for him and that he shouldn’t let him be dragged down. Daryl’s come too long a way to screw it up now.
He looks around, seeing where he is, and both of them chuckle at how weird it is that some place so dank and crappy could turn out to be their hideaway from all things dangerous and painful outside. I know tons of people are shipping them but I really love the nature of their friendship right now too much to do that. They’re so easygoing around each other, lifting each other up, being optimistic. A great balance to all the tiring tension going on. I also realise that Carol’s the only one doing this, being uplifting, taking happiness whenever she could have it.
At the barricades, Andrea asks Milton for a favour – to cover for her when she sneaks out of Woodbury to go to the prison. The Doc barely even tries to hide his cowardly bone while citing all the reasons why he shouldn’t help her (everything to do with the Governor’s temperament). But still, she nearly begs him, trying to persuade him by using the overall wellbeing of the people as a cover to let her out. Really irksome at how bratty she is about it. And Milton’s all like, omg, nuuuu, please don’t make me! Damn it.
The Governor rips off his eye bandaid and stares at his injured socket with a matchstick before putting on a proper eyepatch. Finally. Still, pretty intense to be seeing him lift the flame to his shuriken-shaped wound. I thought he was going to ineffectively cauterize it or something.
Milton gallops in with Andrea’s plan like the welp he is and squeals it. The Governor doesn’t mind. He wants him to help her. The Doc is unsure if he’s being tested, but the Governor insists that he sees to her needs. Before the Doc departs the Gov ensures that his loyal lapdog hears the praise leaving his lips. Good puppy.
We quickly cut to a wandering zombie unfortunate enough to encounter Milton and Andrea. There’s that dastardly Y-prong again. As usual, Milton is the decoy with his fabulous duct tape sleeves, while Andrea tackles and pins it down to severe its arm off. Then she does it again with the other. She finishes with a mighty curbstomp, creating a Michonne-style donkey pet, still gnarling but remaining relatively jawless. What’s the deal with that? Hoping to remind her old buddy of how things used to be?
Another zombie enters the scene and Andrea puts an axe to its head. Very random, unintentionally funny. She uses the Y-prong to hold it in place, but yet another walker steps into their space – until Tyreese suddenly appears! He kills said walker, then proceeds to be completely awestruck by Andrea’s newly appointed pet.
His entire gang is in tow. I guess a blonde woman accompanied by a scaredy bespectacled man shouldn’t raise much alarm but with the biter on a very loose leash, they’re weary about what’s going on… what’s going on anyway? And the newly armless zombie’s just like, “Yargh, argh argh, yar, arh!” Unintentionally funny.
In the prison, Merle tries to make amends with Michonne, who clearly doesn’t give a shit about it. Man, check out that work out regimen. You should know better than to break that concentration. I’m pretty shocked that he comes across as genuine in his no hard feelings approach to it. While Michonne gives him what I think is the evil eye after he walks away, she must be thinking somewhere in her head that he did mean it. Doesn’t mean she has to trust him, though.
Back to the forest. Milton explains to the weirded out group that their gnarly friend will help keep the walkers away. Wait ’til Rick and Glenn hear about this! Bet they wished they knew it before they smeared zombie goo all over themselves. But Sasha points out the recently dead walkers that were drawn to them.
Andrea mentions Woodbury to an inquisitive Allen and the team is all too eager to jump back into civilization again. Milton agrees to take them back to town, where I have a nagging suspicion that they will all be beheaded and be the second beta of the Governor’s personal zombiequarium. Quickly they agree to split up and let Andrea carry on with her prison infiltration mission, and bids goodbye to them without so much as a wave.
That was fast! Andrea’s already at the perimeter of Prison Land and Carl’s spotted her zombie leading the way. Maggie preps a shot, but while scoping her target out she realises what’s going on. Immediately, she asks for everyone to come out and watch Andrea make it across the grassy, walker-infested front lawn with nothing but a grumpy zombie at the end of a stick. It’s actually pretty intense when we’re put in the thick of the crowd with Andrea, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t want her bit.
In single file, the strongest of the team – Rick, Daryl, Merle, Michonne, then Beth, take cover behind their car as they watch Andrea successfully breach their fence. Rick asks if she’s alone, but it’s not until she yells at him does he realise that it’s actually Andrea.
Daryl opens a teeny space for her to enter, and Andrea literally throws her zombie aside. She definitely does not expect the frisking done by Rick as he presses her against the fence. It’s only until a zombie walks up to her and growls in her face that she really panics, and Rick tears her away before anything serious happens. He’s probably just trolling her for the times he didn’t get to subject her to extended cuts of his hallucinations. While this is all happening, there are some very nice character reactions from Michonne and Carol as they each deal with her sudden appearance.
“I asked if you were alone,” he finishes off his body search by flinging her messenger bag to the far end of the compound. After a brief moment, Rick helps her up and rolls out the rug with a steely, “Welcome back.”
Andrea enters the prison, and yep, it’s a barren, dreary place. Carol is the only one who really shows some affection for Andrea as the rest stand around and observes her coldly. I’m really enjoying that everyone is regarding her as a stranger. It may have been different if they didn’t find out that she was bedmates with the Governor, but now that she meets them and has this expectant, entitled attitude, the colder they are, the better. This woman does not deserve pity.
She asks about Shane. Rick, of all people. The silence that meets her seems to unsettle her. And she asks about Lori. To Rick. Again! Two of the people who drove him straight into the town portal of Insanity!Land. She may as well sit him down and run through the full list of names that have ceased to exist under his supervision. Rick has this weird, awkward glance downwards while Hershel answers on his behalf, breaking news about Judith. Maggie mentions T-Dog, whom of course is conviniently forgotten by Andrea because she probably could give a shit about him.
Her condolences are weak; she looks to Carl and offers a look of pity but is only met with a narrow, daggered stare of numbness. She then asks if she can explore their living space, but Rick prohibits her from doing so. As long as you’re still sexing up Phil you can’t see where I sleep, biatch!
Andrea spends some time trying to make sense of what the Governor told her versus what information the group is feeding to her now, trying to get on their side by telling them that she tried to come to the prison as soon as she was able to. Immediately she suspects that Michonne’s been telling tall tales and painting a bad picture of her because she refused to stay in town. Well, no hoe. Michonne’s just been pulling her weight cutting down zombies while you warmed the enemy’s bed. You stayed with him even after you saw his weird head tank obsession. Totally loving Michonne’s body language.
I love that no one seems to care that she used to be a vital, functioning part of this group. It feels so karmic. She literally points her finger at Merle and expects some sort of instant re-assimilation, but damn. Has it never occurred to her that a lot can happen? There must be a pretty damn good reason why Merle is standing there all smug while everyone else is leaving her out, and she doesn’t even bother to find out, choosing to be like a Mean Girl scorned. Because half of them practically want to throw Merle out into that field with nothing but the clothes on his back, they didn’t just welcome him with hugs and awkward chest bumps.
I think the worst part of this conversation is how much she’s still protecting this idea she has about the Governor. A woman in love, I suppose. Every single person in the gang knows she’s being delusional and stubborn, and no one knows if she’s a spy or she’s really being some Florence Nightingale trying to reach out to them. But if the assault is anything to go by, the Governor will have everyone’s corpses skewered on a pike and displayed outside Woodbury’s walls to teach defectors a lesson about going against the grain. So when Rick bluntly puts it out there that the end game is to murder that dictating son of a bitch, and there’s no way they’re going to Woodbury if it isn’t going to end with the Governor’s blood on their hands. It couldn’t be clearer – WAKE UP, ANDREA.
Cut to Andrea and Michonne finding some alone time together. Andrea still thinks that Michonne was poisoning the rest because she may have been jealous over her decision to stick with the Governor, but our quiet samurai woman is classier than that. I mean, while Andrea is still yapping on trying to justify her actions, Michonne actually lets her finish rambling before laying down some useful insight.
I certainly don’t think that Michonne was ever in love with Andrea but like her, I’d be pretty pissed if my best friend suddenly took a liking to some guy who wanted to destroy me and ditched me for the scumbag in the end.
As Andrea cites the town’s needs as if she’s always putting them over her own, I don’t really know what to think of the character anymore. She’s selfish, in constant need of attention, parades around town like she’s the best thing that ever happened to it, has a saviour complex. Her snark isn’t playful, it’s like idiotic whiplash from being needlessly offended by an offhand remark. I don’t know how I can ever feel like this person doesn’t deserve to die anymore than the rest of the prison people struggling with their nuts exposed to biters. I never really invested in the Michonne/Andrea friendship but I know for sure that Michonne is much better off without that blonde ape.
Michonne mentions that the Governor sent Merle to kill her, and that if Andrea came with her, she’d be on the hitlist too. “You chose a warm bed over a friend,” she says, not bitterly but as if having already come to terms with all the feelings of betrayal, disappointment, and anger that could possibly arise from a situation like this. Like what was opinion became a plain matter of fact. It has never rung truer. Tell it like it is, sister.
From the look on her face, Andrea knows it’s true, but she’s so big on denial. When Michonne tells her that she went to Woodbury to expose the Governor not because of any kind of justice but to hurt Andrea, you can just hear the metaphorical slap.
This friendship is dead, decapitated and buried, woman. Michonne don’t give a shit no more.
Tyreese, Sasha, Ben and Allen are hanging out in one of Woodbury’s infirmaries. We hear the same nonsense with “staying as long as you like”, you can leave at any time, etcetera. The Gov explains that the town’s recently been breached by a bunch of dangerous people and the casualties are many. He seems to take interest in them after Allen mentions the prison. Tyreese gives the Governor a breakdown on what the situation there was like – nice people all around, except for crazy ol’ Rick waving his gun around. Ben offers to be part of a team to take the prison group out, but the Gov has to stew over his strategies first. Tyreese adds that they’re willing to stay in Woodbury forever if this can be their safehaven, which is what they’ve been looking for a long while.
I’m fairly certain that this will happen – now that Tyreese and company have blabbed to the Governor, Phil will load up and pillage the prison, and Rick will immediately assume that Andrea was the big fat traitor that ratted them out, resulting in a big exile of her ass.
Back to more Andrea. She meets Judith, being tended to by Carol. “What happened to Lori?” she asks, after cooing over the dead woman’s baby. Well that’s kind of a weird time to ask a question like that, right? But Carol doesn’t even flinch. What happened, happened. Andrea’s particularly interested in Shane’s fate, learning that Rick killed him because he tried to kill Rick first (despite loving him; I hear slash fanfic writers screaming) and he actually loved Lori. There’s something in the way Laurie Holden plays her reaction that makes me feel like she’s disappointed hearing that she wasn’t the centre of his life even if they had a good physical thing going.
I sense a lot of guarded responses from Carol, even if tries to be more open about Andrea’s visit than everyone else is. As Andrea points out that Rick being unhinged, Carol is quick to say that he has his reasons to be.
Even quicker, she tells Andrea that she needs to assassinate the Governor in his sleep. After having sex. Say wooby things, cuddle, whatever. Then when the moment’s right and he’s all vulnerable, STAB HIM. Whoa whoa, Carol’s like Le Femme Nikita now! Urgh, it’s too good.
When it’s time to go, Glenn even has the courtesy to find a working car so that Andrea can return to Woodbury safely. She looks at everyone, obviously feeling unwanted, hops in, and drives off. Say thank you for the car, dammit!
Rick hands her back her gun and her knife and tells her to be careful. There are some very nice shots of Andrea driving out of the compound and everyone watching her leave. I like the stance that everyone takes – they’re in a line, and there’s a bunch of mixed feelings on their faces about the whole situation. But she picked her side, so she can’t come back to this one. To come back? She has to do what Carol says.
The car drives up to the entrance of Woodbury and the patrolmen are stunned that a working automobile has found its way here. I snort when they realise that Andrea’s back, but they don’t know if she’s still a friendly or not.
Andrea finds the Governor brooding again in his apartment, confessing that she went to the prison. He asks about the attendance. She confirms that Michonne and Merle are both there. He asks if they sent her back to Woodbury. She says she chose to come back. The Gov seems kind of inebriated as he questions why.
“Because you belong here,” he tells her, kicking those slithery manipulative gears into motion. Okay, I’m not going to describe sexytimes because it creeps me out a little, but it happens. Let’s just skip all the humping.
At night the prison is dark and hollow. In a strange writing decision Beth decides to fill up all that peace and quiet with her singing. I personally find it weird that we would suddenly be treated to a song number, but I guess when it’s downtime in the zombie apocalypse the people don’t have much else to do. Beth sounds like her actual older self, as her voice echoes off the walls.
Daryl, Hershel and Rick discuss Andrea and the plan moving forward. Rick wants to go for a “run”, whatever that means. A supply run? I like that he’s really leaving Daryl responsible for Merle and his actions. It’s part of him stepping down from his leader podium. And it means that he trusts Daryl enough to be able to handle it. More bromance feels.
Rick wants to take Michonne too to test her out. I doubt she’ll be a disappointment. He’s taking Carl too because the kid is ready to step up and be a legit player for the team. Hershel’s nodding in approval as Rick asks Daryl to stay back in the prison and keep watch.
Outside, Carl is still guarding the place. Yup, he’s ready.
In the Governor’s bed, yelch, Andrea gets up to fetch her switchblade. It’s really predictable and obvious to me that she chickens out. Because when she kills the Governor, her role in Woodbury disappears. Woodbury itself will disappear, and she won’t have her comforts, and her dreams, and her fluffy, naive vision of the world. I hope the show makes her regret not killing him. It better be brutal. It better put her through some serious consequences.
Ugh. Hating on Andrea. Next episode, please. Super glad this is over.